Plastic surgery

Fast facts to protect you from skin cancer

By Rick Smith, MD


May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and though the winter left us yearning for sunlight, here are some tips to enjoy the sunlight responsibly.

  1. Not all sunscreen is created equal. Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher each day to protect against all harmful rays. We recommend PCA Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum 45 SPF. It contains a sheer zinc oxide and can be applied under makeup. We also recommend Avene Mineral High Protection tinted compact SPF 50.
  2. Water, snow and sand reflect sunlight, which increases the chance of getting burned significantly. Wear higher SPF sunscreen, a protective hat and clothing for these environments.
  3. Follow the ABCDEs to self examine for skin cancer:

Asymmetry — Is half the mole different from the other half?

Borders — Are moles irregular, scalloped or poorly defined?

Color — Are moles shades of tan and brown/black? Sometimes moles turn white, red or blue.

Diameters — Are they the size of a pencil eraser or larger?

Evolving — Has the mole or skin lesion changed in size, shape or color?

Make sure to keep your physician informed of any changes or concerns.


Rick Smith, MD

1504 E Grand River Ave # 100, East Lansing



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